HDTV Converter Box

High definition television (HDTV) can transform any living room into a home theater. A HDTV converter box is an essential piece of equipment for viewing television broadcasts in high definition. However, there is a lot of confusion about what qualifies as high definition. Consumers are often misled by confusing marketing terms into purchasing products that do not have full HDTV capability. It is worth knowing the features to look for in a HDTV converter box in order to get the best possible picture and sound from it.

Digital television is currently being phased in around the world, and in many places the old analog broadcasts are also being turned off. Once that happens, any television without an internal digital tuner or a converter set-top box will only be good for watching DVDs. A common misconception is that a HDTV converter box is essential for watching digital broadcasts on an older television. This is not the case because there are cheaper converters available that show a lesser quality digital picture, called standard definition (SD). While this picture is acceptable on smaller screens, it appears blurry and jagged on larger screens.

The benefits of HDTV are obvious when compared with the old broadcast standard that has been used since television was introduced. HDTV provides a larger, widescreen picture that is sharper and more vibrant. When combined with a digital surround sound system, it creates the best viewing experience outside of a movie theater. While almost all flat screen televisions sold today have an internal HDTV tuner, many of the early models did not have one. Any of these models still in use today will need to be connected to a HDTV converter box if their owners want to watch television broadcasts in high definition. The prices of new large screen televisions are still high enough to justify buying a converter box.

A HDTV converter box looks like every other bland set-top box. It typically has a rectangular shape and a finish that is either black, silver or gray. The front panel has few controls because most people prefer to use the remote control. A display showing the current channel is a useful feature but not essential. The back panel has an assortment of connectors that normally includes composite, component, S-video, and HDMI. European models often have a SCART connector as well. Of course, there are also ventilation slots on the sides and top that need to be kept clear to prevent overheating.

On the rear of the converter, there should be enough sockets to hook up the other devices in the home entertainment system. HDMI cables are the best type to use for high definition. Many older televisions do not have a HDMI socket so the other types are also good to have. There should also be sockets for digital and analog audio cables. Some models also have a USB and Ethernet port that allow a computer or portable hard drive to be used as a source. The remote control should be well organized and easy to use. The price of a HDTV converter box is usually more than the price of a standard definition converter, and models that have an integrated digital video recorder (DVR) cost even more.

Setting up a HDTV convert box is simple to do and takes just a few minutes. The aerial cable is removed from the television and plugged into the converter. The converter is then connected to the television with another cable. A HDMI cable should be used to get the best possible picture and sound, but a composite or component cable will suffice if one is not available. In some distant areas, a new antenna may be required to receive digital broadcasts, but most people should be able to use their existing antenna. While almost all major cities and towns now have HDTV broadcasts, there may still be places that have not yet made the transition.

This HDTV Converter Box Review is Written/Updated on Oct 29th, 2009 and filed under Consumer Electronics. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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